Alan Dean Foster has well-informed opinions about, well, almost everything. A decade ago, he started sharing some of them in 5enses Magazine. This volume collects the first hundred of his essays, talking about (this is a very abbreviated list): unperformed symphonies, San Diego Comic Con, Kusari-doi (aka Japanese rainchains), electric and self-driving cars and airplanes, coywolves, Felix the cheetah, robots (humanoid and non-), hurricanes, chocolate, virtual reality, Orson Welles, Yayoi Kusama, Burj Khalifa, Jimmy Durante, Disney, The Beatles, Warner Brothers cartoons, food science, the Rothschilds, Mark Twain, giant balloon dogs, Sagalassos, Botticelli's Primavera, washing machines, Courbet's Le Sommeil, medical office wall art, the Louvre, Tuvalu and Fiji, and the uncanny valley.
Foster 120 published books span a variety of genres, from science fiction and fantasy, to horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. His film novelizations (including Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, Terminator, and Transformers) have garnered him the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. He also writes music, power lifts competitively, and explores as much of the world as he can. He has lived in Tahiti, camped in French Polynesia, traveled extensively in Europe and throughout Asia and the Pacific, in addition to exploring the back roads of Tanzania and Kenya. He has camped in the Peruvian jungle, and ridden forty-foot whale sharks in the waters off Western Australia, white-water rafted the Zambezi River, driven (solo) the length and breadth of Namibia, crossed the Andes by car, gone swimming with giant otters in Brazil, and surveyed Papua New Guinea both above and below the water.
“While each of the essays is short, Foster manages to pack a good amount of interesting information into them.… These short articles are ideal for subway, bathroom, and waiting-for-family-members-to-get-ready reading.… As the collection’s title indicates, the author’s sense of play is fully engaged here—and the fun is contagious. While it’s not strictly SF or fantasy, it gives an intriguing insight into how one of SF’s most prolific writers looks at our daily world.” —Peter Heck, Asimov’s Science Fiction, January/February 2024
“…this collection of dozens of Foster’s essays and newspaper columns offers something far more personal and far more precious, some insight into the author himself.… [A] collection of largely humorous, and often thoughtful takes on everything from modern art, pop culture, and personal reflection, with some deliciously bad puns sprinkled throughout. It puts one in the mind of some of Bill Bryson or Dave Barry’s various essay collections, which is exceptional company for Foster to find himself in.… [F]or all the dry humor and occasional rants about one aspect of pop culture or the other, the collection shines at its best revealing some of Alan Dean Foster’s more personal side.… Rare is the chance to get some personal reflection of an author of Foster’s stature, especially one this humorous and insightful.” —Sean CW Korsgaard, Analog, May/June 2023
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